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Fort Hood Killings: No Safe Place from Invisible Wounds of War

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As

the Fort Hood families grapple with the attacks on their dead and

wounded loved ones, it is a bitter irony that people were murdered in

what was supposed to be one of the safest places on earth. As one general said on TV last night,

"we don't carry weapons here at Fort Hood except for training exercises

because it's our home."

Where can a soldier be safe, if not on at home

on base? That may have been the killer's intent -- to strike at the core

bonds of trust that hold military families together; to make everyone

as distrustful of each other as he apparently was of them.  That will

fail.

Yes there will be changes to the way we lived before -- more

security and likely open displays of weapons on base as deterrent and protection. But also

more open discussion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

At least

there should be.

In the wake of the massacre there will be a tendency

to say one man snapped. That would be wrong. The truth is anyone could

have snapped -- and this one sent out warning flares before he did -- so

we need to de-stigmatize PTSD and mental health before someone else

snaps and more American families suffer.   

While it is unfair to expect

an after action report on such a sensitive subject in the

instantaneous news cycle, some immediate questions deserve attention,

such as how does a negative performance review (as alleged here) yield a deployment to a

war zone? At what point does PTSD render a soldier unfit for

deployment? Do we have the mental health regimes we need? Who is

screening the screeners?

Others will say that after the Walter

Reed investigations and needs assessment, we are doing all we can to help

our troops and veterans get the resources they need. That too would be

wrong - we currently have a Senate "hold" blocking passage of S. 1963,

“The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009” which

could be helping troops and veterans cope with disability and trauma

-what the American Legion calls "the invisible wounds of war."

Also, we can work faster and smarter to implement the ideas expressed at last week's first-ever DOD-VA Mental Health Summit.   

Tragedy

will strike again: there is no safe place from the invisible wounds of war. We can't say we weren't warned; but, for the sake

of the grieving families, the dead and the wounded, we must be able to

say we did all we knew how to stop it.